Chelsea Flower Show is blossoming with new ideas and new designers

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harrods-garden

credit: Bonnie Alter

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London's Chelsea Flower Show is 103 years old. The mother of all garden shows still manages to pull in the crowds but it has to keep current. Last year's was a celebration of the traditional English country garden; this year the designers and organisers are responding to modern social issues. There are six big gardens designed by women (up by two from last year), ageing, mental health and illness are addressed and the smaller gardens have more radical designs.

But not everything has changed: there is kitsch recognition of the Queen's 90th birthday, a chrysanthemum named after Princess Charlotte, and lots of glorious purple and blue flowers.

In the English eccentric category, Harrod's, the famous department store, has sponsored this marvelous folly with trees that twirl, window boxes that pop up and down and scissors that automatically trim a bush. All with traditional bountiful plantings. News Update: Silver-Gilt Medal winner

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